Actor Christian Oliver, best known for his role in the 2008 film Speed Racer, has died at the age of 51. 

Christian – whose real name is Christian Klepser – was traveling by plane from J.F. Mitchell Airport to St. Lucia with his two minor daughters on Thursday, January 4, when the plane experienced an unexplained issue and crashed into the sea. 

The Valkyrie actor, along with daughters Madita Klepser, 10, and Annik Klepser, 12, were all killed in the crash. The owner and pilot, Robert Sachs, was also killed. 

“Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft experienced difficulties and nose-dived into the ocean,” the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said in a statement following the tragedy. “Fishermen and divers from Paget Farm went to the scene of the incident in their boats to render assistance.”

Officials confirmed that all four bodies of the deceased had been retrieved, though the cause of the crash is still under investigation. 

Christian was born in Celle, Germany, and raised in Frankfurt. After moving to Los Angeles, he began taking small acting jobs before landing the role of Brian Keller in Saved by the Bell: The New Class. He went on to star in the 1995 film The Baby-Sitters Club and 1997’s Eat Your Heart Out. 

In 2008, Christian starred as Sergeant-Major Arthur Adam in Bryan Singer’s Valkyrie alongside Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson

Just days ahead of his untimely death, Christian took to social media to wish his followers a happy new year. “Greetings from somewhere in paradise! To community and love …2024 here we come!” he captioned the January 1 photo of a sunset on what appeared to be a Caribbean island with the silhouettes of three young girls and two adults. 

After news of his passing broke, tributes from fans and Hollywood friends began pouring in, including from director Nick Lyon, whom Christian worked with on his latest film Forever Hold Your Peace,

“This is our 5th film together. @christianoliverofficial and me produced this one, and this is our last day of filming!” Nick, 53, captioned a photo of himself with Christian from the day they wrapped filming in December 2023. “We talked about producing a film together for years and finally did it! Thank you for being a great colleague, actor and friend @christianoliverofficial #foreverholdyourpeace”

Actress Bai Ling, who stars in the upcoming film, shared a tribute to Instagram saying, “I cried cried , it was our first and last film together, I loved working with him so much, but luckily you can see our #film it’s called #foreverholdyourpeace”

“He was so. nice, works so hard and such a brave #actor and a beautiful gentle person, we played #lovers in this film, just so so so sad ……. And his daughters were so so young,” she continued.

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